Much has been said about the costs of fashion and its inadvertent contributions to environmental degradation, but it has at least led to a welcome development: fashion consumers are becoming more socially and environmentally aware, and in turn expect more from the brands they are willing to spend on.
Such is the case for heritage brand Burberry, which faced such a backlash after it was revealed that it burned unsold items amounting to $36.8 million in the past year. It was seen as an insensitive move in an attempt to maintain its reputation as a luxury brand, when there could have been better ways to dispose of the products that failed to sell. Burberry promptly performed damage control and learned a lesson, or so it seems. In a recent interview with Business of Fashion, CEO Marco Gobbetti conveyed the company’s promise to leave the wasteful practice in the past, as well as its decision to discontinue the use of fur in its products going forward.
Practice unlike modern luxury
Gobbetti expressed remorse over the predicament Burberry has gotten into because of its previous methods of destroying merchandise. He considered the burning of unsold items as a thing of the past because customers are becoming more mindful of their environment and are willing to take more responsibility in its preservation. Likewise, they wish for the same values to extend to fashion labels.
This realization led to some changes in dealing with products that have already reached its end-of-life. Burberry has taken on recycling as well as donating as preliminary actions. Beauty products are the exceptions to the rule, however, because they could not be recycled or donated once they expire, and destroying them would be preferable because of the hazards. The brand did not clarify though if the beauty products destroyed in the past year have gone beyond their expiration dates.
Burberry is going fur-free
By announcing that it will no longer use fur, Burberry has joined the ranks of other luxury companies such as Gucci, Michael Kors, Versace, and Armani. In the past two years, the aforementioned brands have made public declarations that their labels will be committing to a fur-free policy.
Burberry clarified that this will be applicable for animal fur, including that of angora rabbits, minks, foxes, and Asiatic raccoons. Unsold items will not be set ablaze, just as established earlier, and will be gradually phased out instead.
Burberry has actually set the stage for a fur-free company previously. Two Burberry collections introduced prior to the announcement have already been free from fur, and so will its new collection under the creative direction of Riccardo Tisci that will be launched on September 17. The difference though is that the first collection under Tisci is made after the official announcement.
Leather and shearling, the production of which has been criticized to be as harsh as that of fur, will remain in Burberry items however.
Image credits: Getty, Global Blue, Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg, Sorbis/Shutterstock.com, Burberry. Willy Barton / Shutterstock.com (featured image)